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Ice Cream at Rite Aid [moved from Los Angeles board]

OK, what's up? Relatively new to LA, and see that Rite Aid has ice cream. Little kids eating it all the time. Didn't think too much of it until some surfer guy at a dinner party (very native) tells me that this is the BEST ice cream in LA.

This just does not compute--wouldn't happen in NY. Rite Aid: Not where you go for ice cream. But here, it's LA, parallel universe metropolis: Ice cream at Rite Aid. Some kind of old LA tradition I think he said? Was he lying?

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  1. it is ok ice cream.
    it tastes a lot better if you grew up eating it, so you associate it with the carefree days of childhood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal

      yeah, exactly. this used to be thrifty's ice cream and i used to go to a church near one so I would sneak over and use my church offering on ice cream instead. sometimes pizza. may the Lord forgive me.

    2. Out here, Rite Aid used to be named Thrifty's. There is quite a following for Thrifty's ice cream, but I sure wouldn't call it the BEST ice cream in L.A.!

      Maybe it's the cylindrical shooter gun that's got him all worked up... "Dude, it's shaped like a tube!"

      1. it's been a long time since i had their ice cream - it is very ...airy....i remember buying a 1/2 gallon brought it home, the gf bought a 1/2 gallon of dreyers - the dreyers ice cream weighed about twice as much as the rite aid ...not that weight makes an ice cream but alot of air doesn't help.

        1. The pistachio-cashew sure tasted good when it was a nickel a scoop. I know, dating myself again. Yes, it's a nostalgia thing, but at 99 cents a cone, it's still a pretty good deal.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chowpatty

            Ah yes! the pistachio-cashew...that and coconut pineapple was/are my favorite flavors. Unfortunately they don't make pistachio-cashew anymore, now it's just pistachio ice cream with pistachios. Not sure why they decided to leave out the cashew. Was it too expensive? Sure do wish they'd add back the cashew. None of my friends believe me when I tell them that there was once an ice cream called pistachio-cashew. Baskin Robbins has pistachio ice cream, but it has almonds in it. Now I can show them Chowpatty's post about pistachio-cashew! :)

          2. Ah yes- I remember the 5/10/15 cent days; I think well into the mid-80's, a triple scoop was still 25 cents. I wonder if they still have that cylindrical shaped scoop that fit perfectly on top of the cone?

            2 Replies
            1. re: kdoc

              i was there recently for that one malted chocolate crunch flavor and they still did the tube scoop of my childhood.

              1. re: kdoc

                Ahh the good old days ... when you had to agonize over a game of Millipede versus a triple-scoop of ice cream (Chocolate Chip, Pistacho Nut and Chocolate Crunch).

              2. yup, it's thrifty's ice cream, so don't equate it to rite aid somewhere else in the country. It's much better than something like that. When rite aid bought out thrifty's they kept the ice cream... good choice.

                I grew up on thrifty's. It was one of the only places we would go for anything like that. loved it. When I go back to california to visit family, we always go there. Now I take my kids there.

                If I wanted totally gourmet, I'd probably go elsewhere. But I got to say, I love it. Plus, where else can you get chocolate malted crunch???

                oh, and yes, they still do the cylindrical cone...

                It's great ice cream like, in my opinion, In-N-Out is great hamburgers. You can get a fancier hamburger, definitely. But the pleasure of the experience is hard to match. Same thing with thrifty's in my mind...

                you need to go and try it out a few times. It's still pretty cheap, so no loss there and you can experience an old california tradition. Plus, the one in huntington beach has a great butcher store right next to it (good beef selection btw) that has big plastic cows out front, so the kids can sit on the cows while they eat their cones. Now that is a real family tradition...

                3 Replies
                1. re: adamclyde

                  I am so excited. I grew up in SFSprings and always went to the Norwalk Thrifty's for double chocolate malted crunch! I have thought about it for years since I moved to utah to raise a family. Do you know if they still sell it in the 1/2 gallon boxes? if so I am gonna have some friends send me some via frozen mail. I have told my kids about it and since Rite Aid bought out Thrifty's I figured the ice cream was long gone. Thanx to you all for informing me otherwise.

                    1. re: CasJacobson

                      If you do it, let me know!! I'm here too and want Chocolate Malted Crunch! Did you know you can order it from Costco in a 3 gallon container now?

                  1. I love it! So good, that chocolate malted crunch. Yeah, it's sort of like the Wendy's of ice cream. Not the best in town, but when you eat it, it reminds you of being a kid again. And where else in town can you pick up deoderant and a cone?

                    1. Thifty Mint Chocolate Chip and Cookies'n'Cream.

                      If you are truly a Thrify ice cream fan, not necessarily for just nostalgia sake, Ralph's Private Selection brand tastes just the same.

                      1. If I'm craving a simple scoop of unadulterated Cookies n' Cream on any given night, Rite Aid is the answer.

                        1. Wow, I had assumed that this disappeared ages ago. Rite Aid stores up here in the Seattle area don't have it (they used to be Payless Drug though.) Although I spent most of my childhood in what was basically the middle of nowhere, I remember the Thrifty ice cream from visits to my Grandma's house in Arizona. I don't know how widespread it is nowdays, but I might have to seek it out next time I'm down there.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Vexorg

                            Rite Aid was primarily an East-Coast pharmacy and knew virtually nothing about running a West-Coast style drugs-and-sundries chain. They made many mistakes with the old Payless stores, but not in keeping the older ice cream counters intact. It's a good way to draw shoppers into the store. Not artisan ice cream, but it does the trick on a warm day.

                            They are not "going out of business" but consolidating their markets, selling off isolated stores to keep logistics/costs lower and more profitable.
                            ' “Our strategy is to focus our operations where we can best leverage the Rite Aid brand and operate most efficiently,” said Chris Hall, Rite Aid senior vice-president of strategic business development.' This in explanation of selling their 7 San Francisco stores to Walgreen's.

                          2. On a quality/price ratio, the Rite-Aid (aka Thrifty's) ice cream is VERY VERY good.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Agreed! Especially the above mentioned Cookies and Cream! :)


                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Agree too! And the chocolate chip is surprisingly good.

                              2. Last month they had the ice cream boxes (I think a half gallon) of all the best flavors for $1.99. How can you beat that! I love the chocolate malted crunch too. Great ice cream for homemade ice cream cakes too!

                                1. A childhood favorite was always Apricot-Mango Thrifty's sherbert made into a float with lemon-lime soda (Sprite was the best). Delicious!

                                  Ah, how I miss the good ol' days of the '80s when 50 cents would buy you and your closest friend each a double tube scoop...

                                  1. Payless Drugs was sold to Thrifty Drugs in the late 80's or early 90's. It was then that ice cream freezer cases and single serve scoop counters were installed in Payless Drugs under the Thrifty label.

                                    Thrifty was then bought out by the east coast-based Rite Aid, a large chain of pharmacies.

                                    Rite Aid had many difficulties, reorganized, and remain more or less in the PayLess/Thrifty format on the west coast. New Rite Aids are developed more on the east coast form, being a pharmacy with standard mini-mart type products, but without the breadth of a Thrifty or Payless. ( so no ice cream)

                                    Ice Cream is available in larger (old Payless or Thrity)stores, though Rite Aid is not committed to maintaining the equipment very well. Our local Rite Aids that have old freezer cases are always in state of disrepair. Parts may be hard to get--they are at least 40 or 50 years old!

                                    Yes, I too remember the 25 cent scoops. My favorite today is fudge brownie or rocky road. Tons 'o nuts!

                                    1. Yes, I remember the cone at 50 cents was the best deal in the world. Cocolate with nuts, even the chocolate malt crunch, and the pistachio. Haven't had them in years, but even double the price is still a steal. Wish I was close enough to have one now.

                                      1. Ah! I loved Thrifty's (now RiteAid) ice cream when I was growing up! Mostly because it's a square scoop, as opposed to a round one.

                                        I like the Rocky Road.

                                        1. Man, I feel old...I remember when a quarter got you FIVE scoops at Thrifty! Not great ice cream, but still pretty good, especially for a nickel a scoop! I think the quality of the ingredients must have been pretty high, because the ice cream tasted good, but Thrifty kept costs down by having a TON of air whipped into it (the quantity of air in ice cream is called 'overrun').

                                          1. They have some great seasonal flavors. My memories go way back to childhood. I always crack a smile when I see the kids trying to lick faster than their cone can melt. The one across the road from me is located 2 doors from a Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors. Guess where the moms are taking their kiddles? I also crack up when I see nicely dressed ladies in the middle of the afternoon walking out with a piled high cone for their personal treat.

                                            1. My wife grew up here in Pasadena, CA, and had forgotten about the ice cream at Rite-Aid until she was in one a year or so ago. They're about our least favorite drugstores, with that confusing diagonal layout and a total store staff of maybe three, including the fat teenage manager who gets stuck filling ice-cream orders, which he does with open annoyance. BUT...the ice cream is worth putting up with all of it, especially at the price. It's not as good as Fosselman's, the very best local maker in our opinion, but it's just down the block instead of down in Alhambra.

                                              1. As far as I know, the ice cream that they served at Thrifty's was simply Carnation ice cream. IMHO, the Cocolate Malted Crunch was to die for. The other flavors were nothing special. For the most part, not the best ice cream in LA, but without a doubt it used to be the most bang for your buck in LA ice cream. Not sure what they charge for it these days, but back in my youth it was like 30 cents for a single cone, in a time when the only people who could remember when you could get an ice cream cone for 30 cents most places were tripple my age.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Marvin

                                                  I believe it's around a dollar for a scoop - Mrs. O always buys when we do that, and my memory's lousy, but it strikes me that's what it is. Remembering as I do the times when a scoop of ice cream was one of the many things you could always get for a nickel, it seems odd to regard $1 as being dirt cheap...

                                                  1. re: Marvin

                                                    Thrifty made/makes their own ice cream. I'm with you on the Malted Crunch.

                                                    The Carnation ice cream was sold for a while at Savons, a competing chain.

                                                    1. re: Marvin

                                                      Thrifty Ice Cream is DEFINITELY not Carnation Ice Cream. Thrifty Ice Cream is made in El Monte, Ca at the Thrifty Ice Cream plant. And for the price, it IS still the best ice cream you can buy. At the supermarket you pay about 5 bucks for a carton of ice cream at Rite Aid you can get Thrifty Ice Cream usually around $1.99. It is very delicious and nostalgic! I used to stop there almost every day to buy a double scoop of ice cream for .15 cents on my walk home from school.

                                                    2. Yeah, I was shocked to see that the Rite Aids (originally Thrifty's, then Lucky's for a fleeting period) didn't sell ice cream out on the east coast upon first moving here. I asked, and just got looks. Said I was from LA and... got looks. Whaaat?

                                                      1. rite aid is pretty damn cheap, and pretty good icecream. i agree with it being not the BEST, but quite good.

                                                        and nobody's mentioned cotton candy?! it's by far my favorite icecream haha

                                                        1. Heard Rite Aid is going out of business... what will happen to our beloved Thrifty's ice cream? Especially black cherry or rainbow sherbet... sniff.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Oh Robin

                                                            I wonder how many quarts of Double Chocolate Malted Crunch I can stash in the extra freezer. That is so sad!

                                                            At least there is now a Golden Spoon at that Ralph's on Carson Street.

                                                            PS, Red Mango down the street near the golf course is having free yogurt this Friday from noon to 8 pm.

                                                            1. re: mlgb

                                                              Thanx for the tip! Red Mango is yummy. That Golden Spoon is still a little rough around the edges. I'll give it a couple months.

                                                          2. If anyone is following this thread, today when I went to Rite Aid they had Peppermint Stick. It tastes EXACTLY how I remember Howard Johnson's candy cane or peppermint stick from the 1960s, except maybe not as many bits of candy as I remember.

                                                            I don't think this is a regular flavor. Didn't see it in the retail case and I don't recall every seeing it before.

                                                            1. The deal with Thrifiy's ice cream is that it's made with butter cream instead of regular cream. This makes the ice cream very velvety and smooth, and makes it seem allot lighter (although it will still make you fat if you eat too much!!!) While it's not absolutely the best or very gourmet, it is still very good, and has a very unique texture to it, which makes if very memorable (especially for those of us that grew up on it.)

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: sillyrabbit313

                                                                I don't recall ever reading the term "butter cream" on a carton of Thrifty's. Exactly what is that?

                                                                1. re: mlgb

                                                                  If you have ever melted butter and then let it cool you will notice that it separates into a creamy-white more solid substance and a more clear yellow substance. The white substance is the actual dairy part of butter while the clear part is essentially like oil. Both of these substances are present in normal butter. There are different terms for the process of removing the oily part of butter from the dairy part, but I forget what it's called right now. At any rate, instead of just using regular cream they separate out the "butter cream" and use it as well. I have heard this substance called many names but have forgotten all of them but butter cream. While this doesn't affect the process for making ice cream, except for the additional step of separating the butter, it does make the ice cream have a different texture and taste. If you've had Thrifty's ice cream it seems to be very light and fluffy, while at the same time it also seems very rich. Some other companies use butter cream instead of or in addition to regular cream, but then they call it "gourmet" and charge you an arm and a leg for it. I remember Thrifty's ice cream advertised that it was made with butter cream for a while, but using butter cream makes the ice cream higher in fat content, so they have probably stopped. Sorry for forgetting the technical terms. I'll update if I remember them.

                                                              2. I read the whole post, and was thrilled as I have a Rite Aid in the neighborhood...made a special trip....NOTHING BUT BEN & JERRYS....! I'm bummed....

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: crosby_p

                                                                  Are you on the west coast? Usually the old, larger stores have them.

                                                                  When I worked for an unnamed city in the 1980's we (jokingly) told the company that they could build a new Thrifty only if they included the ice cream counter. They were not going into all stores at that time. They took us seriously.

                                                                2. The ice cream is very good. I hated the coconut pineapple flavor that was my mom's favorite when i was a kid, but that was because i was very young and wanted nothing but chocolate and more chocolate. =]

                                                                  now that i'm older though, i love the coconut pineapple flavor. my sister and a lot of other people tell me that only old asian ladies like that flavor. lol i'm a 17 year old high school senior!

                                                                  go eat the ice cream and decide for yourself if you like it. i was too young to remember the low prices or the special texture or even flavor, but even in the present days i love it!!

                                                                  1. I just move to NY from L.A and i can't believe that Rite Aid does not sell thrifty ice cream!! I'm totally craving chocolate brownie and they totally have the best cookies and cream. Back in L.A i had it at least once a week. That's one of many things that i'll miss from Rite Aid in L.A.

                                                                    1. It is now 2010 so I don't know how relevant this is anymore, but just so you know Thrifty Ice Cream is locally made in Southern California at their own plant. They use the very best ingredients in their ice cream. I think it IS the best ice cream you can get here in California, especially at the price they sell it for. And yeah, the whole nostalgia thing makes it taste even more delicious too, but it's not Rite Aid ice cream, it's THRIFTY brand ice cream which they SELL in Rite Aids, ONLY in California.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: TinaTuna

                                                                        Costco Business Center in Commerce has 3 gallon containers of Thrifty brand ice cream for $11.99. They stock about 11 different flavors and vanilla is $10.99. Trying to make room in my freezer for one.

                                                                        1. re: TinaTuna

                                                                          Tell me they still make chocolate malted crunch ice cream, and i'm a happy gal. Didn't Rite Aid go out of business, tho? Used to scoop ice cream at the Burbank store when I was 17, and that weird scooper really annoyed me! Their ice cream was the best!

                                                                          1. re: Honeychan

                                                                            Here it is they still have Chocolate Malted Krunch and just recently started with some new flavors. I bought Lemonheads and Birthday Cake. They make Cherry Chip, Mocha Almond fudge and in the hand dip only they now have Red Hots if you like that candy then you will love this Ice Cream.

                                                                            1. re: icemanfmly

                                                                              my friend just bought chocolate malted krunch last night in culver city in los angeles :-) she sang its praises the whole way home.

                                                                        2. OMG!! I absolutely love that ice cream!!! I used to live in Norwalk California and i remember almost everyday after school my mom and i would walk down the street to KFC for those little sandwiches they had called chicken littles. Then we would walk around the corner to what was then Thrifty's to get a little cardboard container of chocolate malted crunch ice cream with a little wooden spoon. That was back in 1988. I have lived in Texas since 90 and i CRAVE that ice cream......just sayin' :] Where can i get it??? Can anyone relate?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: norwalk.girl

                                                                            I have thought about it and the closest I can help you to get is purchase a vanilla and a chocolate ice cream and blend it together 2 parts vanilla 1 part chocolate and buy some of that chip topping that breaks when you put it in ice cream and then add some rice crispy cereal. Let me know if this work if you try it?

                                                                          2. Love Thrifty's ice cream! (yes, I still think of it as Thriftys) Still get the exact same thing as when I was little-one scoop black cherry, one scoop chocolate malted crunch.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                              i cant believe nobody has mentioned german chocolate cake or strawberry cheesecake on their list of faves.. i adored a double scoop with these two flavors back in the day. i have searched (in vain) for these flavors in other ice cream brands, but none measure up. the gooey pockets of caramel coconut in a creamy milk chocolate ice cream were generous and tasted like something.. german chocolate cake ice cream i have tried elsewhere since is oversweet and bland at the same time. same thing with the strawberry ribbons in the cheesecake ice cream.. tangy and flavored like strawberries. maybe a bit crunchy from micro ice crystals but not always - it depended upon the thriftys you went to so i think it was an equipment issue .

                                                                              i remember the 5/10/15 scoops, although i was really small and by the time i was trippin' down to thrifty's to buy my own scoops as a kid, they were 10 cents per scoop. no matter, still the cheapest date in town. a thriftys cone and a walk on the beach for two.. less than a quarter! when you are 13 that makes an impact!

                                                                              now my daughter is 12 and has flown to SoCali for her first visit there with grandma. we live in portland and until now my mom has always made the trip north, so it has been so exciting for me that my daughter will see all of my old haunts and one of the required things on my list was for her to experience thriftys ice cream and see the cylindrical, genius ice cream scoopers i have been raving about all her life. too bad it's in rite aide and .. wow the price has gone up, but nevertheless, i guess i will have to live vicariously through her since rite aides up here do not have ice cream counters.. sigh.

                                                                            2. Drug store formerly named Thrifty Drugs. They had some of the better ice cream then & still have many unique flavors. You would go in the store, near the front entrance they had an old fashioned soda fountain and ice cream bar. Delightful in summer (desert area). I'm glad they still carry the Thrifty brand ice cream. Not so sugary sweet as some brands.

                                                                              1. Yes, it's the best ice cream in the world in my opinion. I do agree with westsidegal. I remember going to H.P. and had to have my black cherry, coconut pineapple, & chocolate malted crunch ice cream when i was a child... I still love it very much and have my freezer full of Thrifty ice cream. We alway like to keep each flavor for our guest or on a special day... so yummy :-)

                                                                                1. Okay, I've always looked askance at the many people buying cones at the Rite Aid just around the corner, but after reading this thread, I do believe I will go order some mint chocolate chip today.

                                                                                  1. Thifty's ice cream hit the spot this weekend. I went home to visit my mom and dad, it was very hot, and ice cream sounded great. We contemplated Sonic or McDonald's but one suggestion of Rite Aid was all it took. We all had double scoops - rainbow sherbet only for mom, Dad had pecan praline and butter pecan, and I settled on coconut pineapple and mint chip. Brought back so many great memories, and we rode around town savoring it.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: gator28

                                                                                      coconut pineapple...yumm...my favorite thrifty/rite aid ice cream flavor.....

                                                                                      1. Oh, the memories. It's been over 25 years since I've had Thrifty's ice cream.
                                                                                        Very inexpensive, yet delicious.

                                                                                        Did the OP ever try a cone?

                                                                                        How much is a single scoop nowadays?
                                                                                        I seem to recall a single scoop was around 0.75 back in the 80's.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                          I believe a single scoop is around $1.69 and a double is $2.49.
                                                                                          and we are in Oregon now, Bend and Hillsboro. Soon in Portland

                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                            Oh, it's been 7 years since I first posted this, I've definitely had a cone...or 20....

                                                                                          2. In the little town where I grew up, the local drug store had a whole soda fountain. Lots of fun memories, where my also-broke friends and I would get one ice cream float with 2 straws.

                                                                                            Happily, years later, when I moved to CA, the Thrifty's had that ice cream bar (one near us still exists), 1 scoop for 10 cents. Love it more for the nostalgia than the taste.